Momma! It’s so good to hear from you! The good thing about e-mail is that it is free, but the bad thing is that I don't get to read anything from you until p-day. Oh well, no problem! For some reason the package hasn't gotten to me yet, but it probably just takes a long time because it’s out of state. I hope everything back at home is going really well. I pray for you and Sharon every night. I'm glad that Sharon is finding some better friends because that is something that I have been praying for too! Thanks for sending me updates about my friends too! Of course Nils is already in the field. It also makes sense that Zack is finding unique ways to make trouble and Joe is doing great! I held out a little hope that I could e-mail you some pictures from this computer, but it turns out that I can't. I'll try to get to the photo store and shoot off some pictures, but I get a little busy.
To answer a few questions: All the Elders in the picture are going to Brazil and they were in the MTC with me and the sister is going to Taiwan and had some weird travel goof up. Our service project(s) were painting a less active members house, building a rock patio, mowing lots of lawns. It really a blessing to serve and Mosiah 2:17 has new meaning to me! As far as walking goes, we have a truck, but since there are four of us often times two of us just hoof it around. I actually enjoying walking because we get to see the sun and talk to more people, but it is less effective if we have appointments. I would guess on average I walk ~3 miles a day, although yesterday was probably more like 6-7 and this week my senior comps (the ZLs) are going on exchanges and Elder Pauni and I will be walking everywhere. Esta` bem!
I am loving the work here and the people are so nice. We are working with a whole family named the Zertuches that are just dang awesome. We have two of their baptisms scheduled for this week (Christina & Jacob), one maybe for next, two more that I'm sure will come and the Mom will be baptized if she can change her schedule so she can come to church. We also met this really awesome boy named Paul. We just "randomly" walked into him while tracking and ended up talking with him. He's had a pretty hard life and had a real desire for the truth. We taught him about the Atonement and the Restoration and he was absolutely Thrilled! He agreed to be baptized in 3 weeks and we're excited to keep working with him. We are also working with a lot of less-active members.
A lot of people have trouble here staying committed, but they are just wonderful and will add great strength when they feel the spirit and decide to come back. My companions are absolutely hilarious. We went out and bought Tall-Tees and tagged "Sioux City 2nd ward" on them and now whenever we go out in normal clothes we wear those and sunglasses and stuff and we be the Mormon gangstas. Yeah, I'm cool. Elder Miller is a great teacher and leader and I lucky to be with him. Here they call trainers fathers and greenies sons and so I am Elder Millers 3rd born. I also got to go out tracting with the Spanish Elders here and I understood a lot. Apparently I spoke intelligibly enough to that this neat Jehovah Witness named Larazo decided to start reading the BOM. I know that it was truly a miracle of the Lord and I had little to do with it, but I think the Spirit is just awesome. Ammon is right to say we can do all things in the Lord! We met this funny old man who when we knocked said "Come in!" we were confused and so we did, and then as soon as he saw us he said "Now what the heck is your problem? Get out and don't come back!" It was so funny we were trying not to laugh the whole time. We also are teaching this funny lady who believes we are literally made of dirt clods and that Moses was high when he wrote the 10 commandments. Missions are great! To be honest I don't really like tracting, but I love to teach and feel the spirit and help people come to Christ. My confidence is gaining and I'm starting to help more in lessons and stuff.
Thank you so much for your words and prayers! I know God truly listens and answers and I am honored to be counted worthy to serve Him. I know Christ is our savior and the focus of everything that we do.
-Love Elder Markham